From The Invention Of Paper To Digitization: The History Of Printing

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From The Invention Of Paper To Digitization: The History Of Printing

Have you ever wondered about how we got from a primitive people living in the dark ages to the advanced and sophisticated society we are today? The answer is relatively simple: printing. Though the printing press didn’t come into existence until the 1400s, it revolutionized the future of mankind. So, without further ado, let’s take a quick look at the vast history of printing.


  • 2nd Century: A Chinese man named Tshai Lun is credited with inventing paper. At the time, writings and inscriptions were usually made on tablets of bamboo, or on pieces of silk called chih. However, silk was expensive and bamboo was heavy, so they were not the most convenient of materials. Tshai Lun was the first to make paper from the bark of trees, among other items. Papermaking would not reach Europe until the 12th century.


  • 13th Century: Type characters made from bronze are developed in China, Japan, and Korea. The oldest known book printing using these bronze characters dates to the year 1377 (a Buddhist document called Selected Teachings of Buddhist Sages and Seon Masters).


  • 1436: Johann Gutenberg begins working on his printing press, which takes four years to complete. It is a wooden press with moveable metal type; one of the first books printed is the Gutenberg Bible at 40 lines per page. As the printing press took off, more and more people were exposed to literature and information.


  • 1800: Charles Stanhope builds the first iron-framed printing press. It is faster, more durable, and can print larger sheets.


  • 1935: Penguin Books of the U.K. publishes its first commercially successful series of paperback books.


  • 1993: Digital printing takes off with the introduction of the Indigo E-Print 1000, an offset printing press. Indigo is now owned by HP.


Although we’ve come a long way since the invention of paper, human beings still trust it: roughly 70% of customers state that they’d be extremely likely to reference a print directory in an emergency. Still, local printing services offer a wide variety of options — whether you need oversized printing for a booth display or professional business cards made, you’re sure to find the right company for the job. No matter what local printing services you need performed, the technology exists today to do it all!